From cockfighting to clean drinking water…
The historic square at the heart of Caernarfon, Y Maes was once a rocky mound of earth. It was used as a livestock market and cockfighting arena before being levelled in 1817 to create the square we see today.
The imposing walls of Caernarfon Castle dominate the western end of Y Maes, also known as Castle Square. Directly below it lies Caernarfon’s historic slate quay, on the banks of the River Seiont. Just above the slate quay, close to the castle, stands a statue of David Lloyd George, the charismatic ‘cottage-bred boy’ who rose to govern Britain and who is well-remembered by the people of Caernarfon. Another statue commemorates the life of Sir Hugh Owen, who helped to bring higher education to Wales. Owen was one of the founders of the Normal College for teacher training at Bangor, which opened its doors in 1858. He was also heavily involved in the creation of University College, Aberystwyth, which opened in 1872.
During the fourth cholera pandemic (1863–75), the disease claimed the lives of 75 local people. So it was decided that a fountain would be built on Y Maes to supply the town with clean drinking water. Opened in 1868, it has since been replaced by a more contemporary design. The remains of the original were relocated to Pool Street and may be seen there today.
Today Y Maes is the perfect place to rest weary legs and enjoy the sights and sounds of Caernarfon’s historic heart.
An Audio Trail and Itinerary have been created for this site. To download them, please see here
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Info Point
- Buggy Access
- Wheelchair Access
Follow signs to castle from A487
Nearest station Bangor - 9 miles
Frequent buses serving various destinations stop at bus station 100 yards away
Cycle routes to Bangor and south to Porthmadog on Sustrans Route 8
Disabled parking only on Y Maes - numerous car parks nearby
Full Figure Grid Reference: SH 479626
OS Landranger map sheet: OS 115
- 01286 672232
- Y Maes, Caernarfon, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1SE